Of course, I also came back with great memories, new friends, and a fresh perspective. And I have a representative photograph of that... which I took from Kelly at Stacked.
I took the bus in on Friday and missed the first session of publisher previews, but did get to have lunch with old friends Liz Burns and Kelly Jensen. I was particularly excited to meet another longtime blogger friend in actual real life, Leila from Bookshelves of Doom. Then it was off to Penguin, where I was unfortunately late for guest authorGayle Forman, but was treated to a preview of upcoming titles. I loved the the enthusiasm displayed each editor for the books coming out of their division and was excited to bring home a bag of some of the talked about titles. The marketing department shared their thoughts and book trailers as we munched on cupcakes, and the art department gave a very interesting presentation on book covers and how they come to be.
After talking to a few other bloggers, I headed to the hotel room that I shared with Liz and Kelly, where I met up with Lelia and her charming friend Amanda, and we all traded books from our various previews. Reviewing middle-grade and picture books like I do, I got more books than I could take home, but I also gave away most of my YA titles.
After a brief tidying up, we headed to the KidLit dinner at Ichi Umi, which features the longest buffet of sushi and such ever. I was able to touch base and share table space with Greg Pincus as we tried to remember which yummy morsels we had put on our plates. (The monk fish liver was fabulous.) I had exchanged brief hellos with our speaker, Grace Lin, and made cutesy faces at her adorable baby. Yes, she brought her baby. What a treat! (Thanks for the picture, Sondy.)
Of course the real treat was her presentation of her journey as an artist. It was personal and meaningful, exploring her revelation to find her own style by looking to what moved her and incorporating her cultural and individual identity. The lovely talk was followed by a signing of her new book, Starry River of the Sky.
The day was over before the karaoke could begin, though some of us stopped at the bar on the way back home. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Maureen.) We closed the night pretty early though, saving our energy for the upcoming big event: KidLitCon.
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